Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

In Peter Zenger: Fighter for Freedom, Tom Galt weaves a true and fascinating story about freedom of the press and its importance in a free society. The book documents the events in the life of Zenger, a poor, humble immigrant printer who found himself at the center of a battle between a corrupt government and those individuals who believed that the people had the right to know.

Galt covers the life of Zenger, from his arrival in New York on a death-infested ship in 1710 through his landmark trial in 17341735. The first three chapters are devoted to Zenger’s life upon his arrival and to his search for work. He had no money to pay the apprentice fee, but he desperately wanted to learn the print trade. Soon, Zenger was one of only a few children remaining in the immigrant camp, the others having died or moved away, and the apprenticeship was arranged through the government.

Zenger’s apprenticeship was to Andrew Bradford, a tough taskmaster, and he learned the trade of printing during long days full of hard work. At night, he did chores in the Bradford household and learned to read and write, which was part of the apprenticeship arrangement.

Zenger eventually married, became the organist in the local Dutch Reform Church, and became partners with Bradford. Because Bradford refused to print any articles critical of the government, however, Zenger opened up his own printing shop. When Governor William Cosby arrived in New...

(The entire section is 448 words.)